Ulaanbaatar, Gobi Desert & Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Explore a world of tradition and cultural encounters.

Country Information


Ulaanbaatar, Gobi Desert & Gorkhi Terelj National Park New Reality

(Countries Visited)


(Interest Type(s))

Sustainable Travel


Safari Tours


Adventure Travel

(Tour Length)

7 Days

Tour Highlights

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  • Discover Mongolia’s fascinating 17th-century capital city of Ulaanbaatar
  • Explore the ruins of Kharakhorum, the site of the 13th century capital of the Mongol Empire, and nearby Mongolia’s largest monastery, the 16th-century Erdene Zuu
  • Travel into the fascinating Gobi Desert, the third largest desert in the world and home to the famous Flaming Cliffs and the Singing Sands
  • Fly by private plane or helicopter to the landmark dinosaur site known as the Khermen Tsav, one of Gobi’s most remote areas that few outsiders have ever explored
  • Visit Gorkhi Terelj National Park, completely wild except for a tiny southern portion that has restaurants, souvenir shops and re-creations of 13th-century villages depicting life and traditions during the era of Genghis Khan

Day 1:  Arrive Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Welcome to Mongolia’s capital city, where you see the contrast between ancient traditions and the dawning of a 20th-century democracy.  Traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries coexist with modern high-rises.  You are met and escorted to your centrally located hotel, which is within walking distance of museums and shops.  The city was founded in 1639 as a nomadic Buddhist monastic center.  In 1778, it became a permanent settlement at the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers.  In the evening enjoy a performance featuring traditional Mongolian dancers and hoomi (throat) Singers followed by a welcome dinner.  Hotel Blue Sky Tower (D)

Day 2:  Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast, visit the National History Museum for an excellent overview of Mongolia’s history and culture.  The newly remodeled museum displays traditional implements of daily nomadic life including Stone and Bronze Age artifacts, historical costumes of Mongolia’s minority tribes, sacred religious relics, and agricultural, fishing, and hunting equipment.  Next, travel back in time with a visit to the dinosaur halls of the Natural History Museum, showcasing the spectacular fossils found in the Gobi desert.  On display are fierce Tarbosaurous fossils (related to Tyrannosaurus Rex), dinosaur eggs, large hadrosaur fossils (duck-billed dinosaurs), and many others, all of which illustrate the richness and importance of the paleontological sites in the Gobi desert.  In the afternoon, visit the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum.  Named in honor of Zanabazar, the first Buddhist leader of Mongolia and renowned sculptor, artist, and politician of the 17th century, the museum contains one of the best collections of Buddhist art and artifacts in the world, including many of Zanabazar’s original works.  Hotel Blue Sky Tower (B,L,D)

Day 3:  Ulaanbaatar/ Gobi Desert
This morning, transfer for your private flight to the Gobi Desert, the fifth-largest desert in the world and Asia's largest.  Fly via central Mongolia with a stop to refuel and discover Kharakhorum, the site of the 13th century capital of the Mongol Empire.  The empire created by Chinggis (Genghis) Khan and his descendants was the largest contiguous land empire in recorded history.  The son of Khan, Ogedei, created the legendary city of Kharakhorum to serve as the capital of this monolithic empire.  Once a bustling multi-cultural city, Kharakhorum was later abandoned by Khubilai Khan for his new capital in Beijing, and eventually it fell into ruin.  Nearby, Mongolia’s largest monastery, Erdene Zuu, was reputedly constructed from the ruins of Kharakhorum in the 16th century.  Surrounded by over 108 stupas, Erdene Zuu has been a place of Buddhist activity for centuries.  Fly on to the vast Gobi Desert.  Contrary to the sterile sameness that the word ‘desert’ suggests, the Gobi is a diverse and fascinating region, and includes sites of some of the most important paleontological discoveries of the 20th century.  For the next few days, enjoy the stunning landscapes of the Gobi, habitat for Bactrian camels, Argali mountain sheep, goitered gazelle, golden eagles, Saker falcons, jerboas (similar to kangaroo rats), and many endemic reptiles.  Upon arrival at Three Camel Lodge, an award-winning eco-lodge located near the Gurvansaikhan Gobi National Park, settle in into your traditional Mongolian yurt or ger before your afternoon activities that include exploring ancient petroglyphs of Bulagtai Mountain; learning about traditional Mongolian calligraphy; or participating intraditional Mongolian games that reflect aspects of nomadic life.  For centuries, games have been used to pass on Mongolian traditions from generation to generation, and to keep nomadic values alive among herder families.  After a welcome dinner, enjoy stargazing under the vast Gobi sky with an astronomy lecturer.  Three Camel Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4:  Gobi Desert - Hongoryn Els Sand Dunes & Hermen Tsav
After breakfast, fly by private plane or helicopter to the western Gobi to the landmark dinosaur site known as the Khermen Tsav.  This is one of Gobi’s most remote areas and only few paleontologists visit the area because of its remoteness and the harsh terrain.  Many important dinosaur fossils have been discovered in the area.  One of the leading paleontologists of Mongolia will join you on this trip to interpret Mongolia’s prehistoric sites and the importance of the dinosaur fossils.  Fly to see the towering sand dunes of Hongoryn Els, which run 60 miles alongside the Gobi Altai Mountains.  These "Singing Sands," reaching upwards of 183 meters/600 feet, are the Gobi’s most magnificent sand dunes and due to their isolation, the secret of this area’s beauty has been kept safe for thousands of years.  Explore the dunes on foot or from the back of a Bactrian camel.  You will also visit a nomadic family to experience their renowned hospitality firsthand, and learn about the basics of a nomadic lifestyle that dates back thousands of years.  Three Camel Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5:  Gobi Desert - Moltsog Els / Flaming Cliffs
After a leisurely breakfast, drive to Moltsog Els, one of the few regions of the Gobi covered by sand dunes.  Explore the area on foot or, take the opportunity to further explore by camel.  Next, drive to the legendary Flaming Cliffs, named for the red-orange sandstone that glows brilliantly at sunrise and sunset.  It was here in 1923 that Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his exploration team from the American Museum of Natural History found the first nest of dinosaur eggs the world had ever seen.  To the trained eye, the ancient formations of the Flaming Cliffs are rich with fossils, and paleontological expeditions continue to make significant discoveries at this site.  Three Camel Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 6:  Gobi Desert / Gorkhi Terelj National Park
Fly to Gorkhi Terelj National Park, almost entirely uninhabited region.  There is, however, a small southern portion of the park that is developed with restaurants, souvenir shops, ger camps, and a park with re-creations of small villages depicting the life and traditions of Khan’s era, including Shaman’s Village, Great Khan’s Village, Herder’s Village, Educational Village and Craftsmen’s Village.  The area offers hiking, horseback riding and rafting.  Terelj Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 7:  Gorkhi Terelj National Park / Ulaanbaatar / Depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure.  (B)

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